If I had the choice to come back into this world as someone else, I’d come back as two very different types of people:
The first one would be an upper middle-class girl in the Edwardian era. Like, Elizabeth Bennett…but Latina. I’m not sure if that’d work but in my dreams that’s how it’d be.
Or I’d like to come back as a wise old man who’s a boxing coach. I’d work in a dark, dusty boxing gym on the east side of LA. I’d be just like the movies. I’d mentor a kid who had lost his way but had a “gift”; I’d coach him, school him, show him the ropes and live out my broken dreams through him. There’d be a montage. An anthem would play over a sequence of shots of me working with him day in and day out until he boxed like Floyd Mayweather.
When I think about making pesto, a romantic little picture is painted in my brain. I’m in a rustic, Tuscany-style home, barefoot in some sort of oldish, wrinkled – yet totally chic – long, linen dress, in a kitchen that’s older than my great, great grandma, and I’m there making pesto with the guidance of a sweet Italian old woman I can barely communicate with.
I’m adding stuff to the mortar and pestal, grinding it up and we’re laughing and looking adorable. The pesto is made from fresh basil that I picked just a few moments before, the cheese made from the neighbor’s cow and the garlic is fresh from the early morning’s walk (because I imagine you can just walk down the street and run into garlic everywhere. I dunno?). I’ve never been to Italy, sadly, so I’m not positive, but in my brain this is how it works.
The real life story of this pesto is that it was made by a girl living in LA who’s had one too many tootsie rolls this past week and needs a proper dinner. I have electricity so I opted to make this using a food processor, though a pretty mortar and pestal is totally on my Christmas list!
I’m a pretty big fan of pestos that aren’t traditional (evidence: here and here), which makes me believe that maybe I should be calling them something other than “pestos,” but whatever. This “pesto” is what I like to think of as a basil-no-longer exists kind of pesto. It celebrates the changing season, so kale is in place of fresh basil.
In this instance I used dino. Mainly because it’s called dino and that’s the coolest name in the world for a vegetable. If I was a dude I totally wish my name was dino.
Also, do you think dinosaurs ate dino kale? Hope so.
Week nights are weird. Most of the time you’re tired and kind of want to just eat something, chill out, sit on the couch and watch a few things before you have to do it all over again the next day. I know what this feels like. And most nights cooking something even slightly labor-intensive is really daunting, but take-out also seems like a lot of work because you have to talk to someone…on the phone. And forget about driving somewhere, you JUST got home. UGH. And OMG the feeling of hungry has now turned into HANGRY (hungry + angry), and you just wanna eat something. right. this. second. When this is the case, I turn to pasta–it’s my go-to. Always and forever.
Over the years I’ve become a private master of the “15-minute pasta dish for one person.” Lemon pasta. Vegetable scrap pasta. Spaghetti with eggs and lots of black pepper. Carbonara. Butter and crushed red pepper (not all that exciting). Butter and cheese pasta (also not that exciting, but very dependable), and the list goes on and on…
If you do a small amount of planning and remember to a buy a few red peppers over the weekend, this is a new little 15-minute pasta that could enter your rotation. It’s a solid one.
I have cooking mood swings. There are days when I want something to go from my fridge, to a pan, to my mouth in, like, 15 minutes. I have recipes for that!
Other times–usually on Sundays–I want to cook something that’s a little challenging, you know, try a bit of a kitchen project. I think challenges are a good time. I really enjoy throwing on music and starting something that’s a little tricky; I find it methodical (and often times delicious).
Enter: homemade pasta.
No fancy Kitchenaid pasta attachment needed. Just a fork and a rolling pin. That’s all. And some muscles, too. You’ll for sure get a crazy bicep workout rolling out dough.
This is a bit of a step-by-step. I think we should dive in. Now!
(This post is in collaboration with Bravo for their show, Around the World in 80 Plates. This week they’re in Rome, Italy. Check it out on Wednesday at 10pm/9pmc on Bravo!!)
1. I’m officially addicted to Pinterest. I feel like I’ve said this before, but then I forget about it and blah blah. But this week I reorganized my pins, started following more people, etc. I’m into it!
2. Do you ever love a song so much that you google the lyrics so you can sing along? I can’t be the only person that does this. A lil’ embarrassing, but how else are you supposed to memorize the CORRECT lyrics?
3. I sometimes think I was put on this earth to convince skeptical people to watch and love Friday Night Lights. I feel like it’s my duty. WATCH IT!
4. Spotify. Are you on it? I like it. I can listen to all sorts of music whenever I want, though, I hate its sharing aspect. I don’t want people to see what ridiculousness I’m listening to. I don’t ALWAYS listen to cool-people music. And sometimes I wanna listen to the same song over and over and I don’t want to be judged, okay?! If you, too, feel this way, “private profile” is the way to go.
5. Trying is very important. I try hard at all sorts of things. Another thing that’s important: knowing when to quit. I quit something this week, I think, and it feels sad, but relieving all at the same time.
6. When you quit something, you might have the urge to eat your feelings. That’s cool, but also try drinking them. That’s fun too!
7. In other news, I’m eating more vegan food. Because I like to feel healthy every now and then. And I’m in love with this bathing suit. This pasta could be considered “bathing suit pasta.” It’s totally a thing.
Did you ever forge your mother’s signature? I did. Once. And of course I got caught. Duh. That’s how it always goes.
I was 10 years old and got a detention. I’m not afraid to say that my mama scared me when I was little. I didn’t mess with her. So I figured it’d be way easier and less terrifying to just forge her pretty yet complicated signature. She did (and still does) have a really beautiful signature. Think writing out of Downton Abbey (I’m obsessed!).
So, I sat in my room and practiced and practiced and practiced. After about a hundred attempts I totally nailed it. Feeling successful, I turned in the signed detention and started serving my time. I was having fun, actually. The teacher who supervised detention didn’t have anything under control and I remember laughing and joking with kids in the back of the room. It got sort of quiet for some reason and I remember hearing high heels clacking down the hall. At the door was my mama, looking super sharp in a business lady suit, giving me a glare that was SO scary. OMG did I stop laughing. She was truly terrifying.
Hi, ummm…you look cute today. Your make-up looks pretty. And those lunges are paying off ’cause your legs are lookin’ maaaad tight.
First week of summer got me in a good mood, what can I say?
Summer does a weird thing to me. All I seem to make during these months are popsicles, variety of ice creams and salads. I dunno…I guess whenever temperatures start to rise, eating outside with friends just sounds better. Or I just eat cereal in my air-conditioned apartment with socks on. I dig socks year-around
But sometimes I need a legit dinner/lunch. I mean, don’t we all?! We can’t eat popsicles for dinner ALL the time.
This lasagna? Super legit. There’s chard (how pretty is raw chard?! good gracious), a creamy-not-too-heavy bechamel, spicy sausage (hi, kick of spice!) and lemon slices that give it that taste of summer we’re all craving.
Happy Friday, lovelies! I like you. I made this for you. It’s a loooong weekend. Yay for all of us!
(Except me, because I work freelance. But whatevs.)
What are you doing this weekend? I’m hitting the yoga studio. I’ve finally caved and realize typing doesn’t count as exercise. And since I don’t believe in dieting, I need to be active so I’m not forced to buy an entire new wardrobe.
I think you should make this…it’s PASTA CAKE! Don’t you just love the title?
The title is super sneaky, because, as you can see, it’s not cake, but more of a frittata of sorts. I still liked it. And plus, if it did actually have flour and baking soda and was a cake, it’d just be plain weird. And seeing as I made a super weird dish last time, I’d figure I’d bring you something somewhat normal.
Like most frittatas this dish could go so many ways. You could add mushrooms, asparagus, broccoli–basically any thing in your fridge that needs getting rid of.
Let’s talk risotto. Risotto and I have an awkward history. A few Christmases ago, I thought it’d be a fantastic idea to add risotto to our Feast of the Seven Fishes menu. As I was prepping, cooking and juggling five dishes, I started the risotto and between ladling chicken stock in the pot and doing random other things, I totally overcooked it, and it turned into a dry, rubbery, gross mess. Once I realized I messed up the one dish I was most excited about, I had a breakdown. A total kitchen breakdown. My lovely family felt so bad about my breakdown that they ate the gross risotto anyway….as they laughed, of course. So needless to say, me + risotto = not friends. BUT, me + pasta, risotto style = BFF. I’ll explain…
There aren’t many recipes that totally transform the way I eat. I mean, I try a lot of stuff and methods to cooking things, but rarely do I ever make a recipe over and over again. This recipe totally did it for me. It’s the one recipe I repeat at least once a week. Why? It’s super adaptable. Literally you can put anything you want in it. Have some scraps from a rotisserie chicken in the fridge? This is the recipe for you. Have some extra vegetables without a purpose? Their home is in this dish. Have that awkward amount of cheese (ricotta, marscapone, etc)? Put it in this thing. It’s also quick, but at the same time I wouldn’t feel shy about serving this to guests. Basically, it’s a huuuuge step up from the sometimes bowl of cereal I have for dinner.